TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
CONTENT QUOTA SUSPENSION WILL HURT AUSTRALIAN CREATIVES
The Morrison Government’s decision to suspend local content quotas for new Australian drama, documentary and children’s programs is a blow for a screen sector that’s already hurting.
Screen production has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, with many thousands of people losing work. Many of them are not eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
This decision only adds to their pain and uncertainty.
While commercial and subscription broadcasters are undoubtedly under pressure, suspending these rules will have far-reaching consequences and mean fewer job opportunities for Australian creatives and fewer Australian stories on our screens.
This must only be a temporary measure that reflects the current inability of many productions to run.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of today’s announcement is the Minister’s description of content obligations as “red tape”. Content obligations have been a central driver of the production of Australian stories for years.
Dismissing them as red tape shows an appalling lack of understanding from the minister who is meant to be the voice of the arts and creative industries in Cabinet.
The Government’s failure to modernise content obligations to keep pace with the age of the international streaming giants has caused uncertainty for the sector and continues to drag on three years after a review was first announced.
This Government has largely abandoned the arts and entertainment industry during the coronavirus crisis.
The arts sector was there when Australia needed it, helping to raise money for bushfire relief. Australians are relying on music, books, television and movies to help get them through isolation. But the Government is not delivering help to the creative sector when it needs it most.
We need the creative industries to be there when Australia emerges from this crisis – and decisions like this do not help.
WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2020